Tuesday 20 February 2024

Ride clearance at Skylarks and The Grange, Sunday 18 February

In extremely wet conditions, we ventured out to our summer ringing sites at Skylarks and The
Grange to prepare them for the year ahead. This job involves cutting back any plants that may
get in the way of nets. Mostly, we trim bramble and overhanging willow.

We were prevented from clearing all the rides because both sites were flooded, so we did our
best by wading in the water up to the tops of our wellies (and in one case, over our wellies).

It’s been a while since we visited the Grange, so it was as much a general recce to see how the
site has changed as it was a bramble bashing session. The reedbeds and rides remain in good
condition, and we hope will be a productive site for Reed Warblers this year.



Monday 12 February 2024

Broomfield Hall College - Sunday 11 February

We tried the Tawny Owl tape lure again first thing in very foggy conditions, and although an owl
was responding to the tape for a short time, we didn’t catch any owls.

After that, we caught very little in the way of passerines, c25 birds in total. Mostly the usual
suspects - Blue Tit, Great Tit, Long-tailed Tit, Robin and Dunnock. One new Chaffinch and a
new Blackbird were the highlights. The male Blackbird in particular had an unusual feather pattern, with brown bars across the primary coverts and primaries, reminiscent of tortoiseshell.


Friday 9 February 2024

Broomfield Hall College - Sunday 4 February

This weekend, we managed to get out ringing at Broomfield in between the overnight rains and
strong winds later in the day. This led to our quietest visit to the site so far, with 27 birds. Our
greatest success was 7 new Chaffinches ringed. We put tapes on in an attempt to attract Tawny Owl,
Goldfinch, Redpoll and Nuthatch to the nets, but none of these led to results. 

Recently Kev was sent a photo of a Robin's underwing by Mike Easton in Cumbria, who thought it was particularly bright. We examined a single bird today and found it to be much duller. However, we've since looked at several other birds, including known age birds and this appears to be just individual variation. However, something to keep an eye on. See photos below.

The totals were: 1 Redwing, 1 Dunnock, 6 Long-Tailed Tit, 2 Great Tit, 7 Chaffinch, and 1 Robin.



Underwing of Robin in Cumbria (M. Easton)
Underwing of Robin nr Derby (K. Hemsley)